This rainy weekend I got to watch a chance to watch the movie Jobs about Steve Jobs the mercurial creator of Apple Computers. Like all people interested in tech, I am interested in Steve Jobs. His ideas, how he started Apple and his leadership style are reading topics for me. What drove this man to start Apple and actually deliver on innovation? What was his secret?
After watching the movie, letting the Jobs sink in for a few days, I wanted to give my take on the movie (in spite of Steve Wozniak's review - below). From an acting perspective, I'd say the movie was a B-. The characters were believable, and I liked the casting. However, the plot lacked direction, and thus the characters. I was anticipating the release of the Ipod as the climax, instead it was Steve's glorious return to Apple as CEO whereby he fires one of his closest partners and then does a voice-over for a commercial. As an audience member, I was entertained, but not directed to where the movie was going. But on to why I actually wanted to watch the movie: Jobs, and what I could learn from his life.
Mainly, Jobs seemed to be so focused that he put the product above all else. He wasn't the listening-to-others type... He was driven to see perfection in what he did. I loved the line where he said, "I'm here to make them better". If I had to define leadership, that one quote would be it. But what got me thinking was do all the niceties that we all seem to have to practice get a damn thing done?
In my career, I've been scolded more than once for my "pushing" people to work harder, or even smarter. After watching Jobs, I'm re-thinking those who scolded me. Should you be everyone's best friend? This is business, and we get things done here, with excellence! Perhaps a dose of reality might be due to those folks who press for the "kindness at all costs" way of doing business. Or, maybe Jobs was wrong (as am I, on occasion) and a more strategic approach should be taken, one where you win people over with a way of thinking, instead of force. Could both be true at the same time? Ultimately, I think it depends on your culture... Is your culture one of brute force/constant innovation (where individuality rules) or business processes/hierarchical functions (where niceness is built in)? I think Jobs demonstrated that leadership (individual brilliance) matters and that one person can make a difference - people follow results.